Maggie Brock has everything under control. Even her divorce, though painful at the time, registers only as a minor blip in her carefully constructed universe. Her life in Prairie Oaks has once again returned to a smooth, predictable pace…until an angel shows up in her bedroom.
The angel is just as bewildered as Maggie about why he’s been sent to her, but their unsuccessful efforts to gain understanding of the mystery fade to the background as their relationship grows. Soon, Maggie’s biggest problem becomes the angel himself, as her feelings for him develop into something less than saintly.
While Maggie struggles to keep her desires pure, a nefarious being lurks in the shadows of Prairie Oaks, watching and waiting for the opportunity to fulfill his ambiguous purpose. Preying on her conflicted emotions, the demon manipulates her at every opportunity, but the one to deliver Maggie directly into his hands is the last person she’d expect.
This was a book that I had purchased awhile ago. Not sure why it took me so long to get to it, but I sometimes feel like books find me at the right time. This isn’t the typical angel love story either.
The angel/demon genre in YA books can be fairly predictable. I do have some favorites though. This book is not what I expected. Maggie is not a young girl. She is a mother of two, with a job and is just starting to gain some footing in her life after her divorce.
Religion and the church plays a big role in this book, which I found refreshing. Having a pretty strong background in the bible myself, I appreciated Maggie’s struggle to do the right thing. While I am not catholic, I do have a healthy respect for the church, and understood why Maggie felt the way that she did when things didn’t feel right to her. Her perspective felt true to me.
Excerpt from Chapter 12:
Armed with a small backpack filled with water, fruit and a book, her plan was to find a cozy, secluded spot and read. She came upon a shallow river and walked next to it for a bit before finding the perfect place–a flat area with a inviting rock that was just the right height and width to sit on comfortably. But after settling in, the book didn’t hold her attention. Instead, her eyes wandered to water, rushing over low rocks and flowing around larger ones. She caught silvery flashes of fish as they glided by, and watched the dragonflies dip to poke at the water’s surface.
Glancing back up at the mountains, she thought she might understand her fascination with the majestic peaks. They reminded her of just what a small thing she was in the universe. Nothing but a speck. Insignificant. Unnecessary. But this thought didn’t depress her. On the contrary, it gave her a sense of freedom, much like the realization a few years earlier when she’d recused herself from running the PTA and saw that it hadn’t fallen apart without her. Whatever she did in this world was her choice, and whatever she chose, the people she cared about would be taken care of. Carl was obviously thriving in his life without her. Her aging parents were getting along fine living halfway across the country. And her children…yes, even they were growing in independence and had lives away from the tiny grain that was their mother.
Yet even in this big world, even the smallest sliver of a human had a purpose, Maggie knew this, and her thoughts turned to Evan. Surely he must’ve been sent to her for a reason.
The story starts out with Maggie working part time at her local parish. A priest from Rome comes to the church to oversee some changes that affect the current priest who has been there for years. At the same time, Maggie starts dreaming about a man that visits her room at night. She finds comfort in him, until she realizes that he isn’t a dream but a real man that she can touch and talk to.
For most of the book, Evan and Maggie don’t know why they can communicate with each other and what the purpose is. But each time they interact with one another, it brings them closer both emotional and physically. Maggie’s attraction feels one sided at times, and I loved their conversations on life, God and religion.
Excerpt from Chapter 13:
“You say not to regret who I was, but how can I not when the decisions I made didn’t affect just me–I forced the kids to leave their friends and change schools because I couldn’t handle the situation. What kind of mother does that?”
“Was the move to St. John’s a bad one from Liam and Kirsten?”
“No. It ended up being a great move…for all of us, but I couldn’t have known that ahead of time. I reacted impulsively and everything could’ve just as easily been disastrous for them.”
“But it wasn’t.”
“But I didn’t know it wouldn’t be.”
“But the Lord did. There is a plan, Maggie. Circumstances are often arranged in a certain way on purpose, to set us up to arrive at the place we’re supposed to be–a bigger picture that we can’t see.”
“I get that. Sort of. It’s just that the whole free will thing gets in the way. If there is a divine plan in place that’s all been foreseen, then is there really free will or is it just us thinking we’re making choices while God’s pulling the strings?”
“Free will is genuine, and often the choices people make lead them far from their intended plan, but God offers up opportunities and arranges circumstances to help bring them back to where they’re supposed to be.” Evan’s voice was steady, unflustered by Maggie’s persistent challenges.
She relaxed and leaned against the back of the chair, extending her other leg so that both feet rested in his lap. He’d begun kneading her first foot, and now moved over to the other. “That feels nice,” she said, giving her toes a small wiggle as an indication that she was ready to lay the conversation to rest. As usual, she needed time to absorb the things Evan told her.
The story moves forward when some supernatural things happen at the parish and in the town. One of Liam’s friends starts acting strangely, and Maggie grows concern about her daughter’s actions as well. Maggie feels this struggle to maintain the simple friendship that she has with Evan. Her attraction to him is the catalyst to dark events and puts not only her life in danger, but the people that she holds most dear in danger as well.
Romance is not the driving force in this book, but it does play a part. What kept me reading was the mystery behind the events happening at the parish with the priests and reasons behind what kept Evan coming back to Maggie. Things don’t go exactly like I expected, but the conclusion was satisfying and genuine.
I gave this book 4 stars and put it on my “top shelf fantastic reads” shelf on Goodreads. It is a great “stand alone” book that I would highly recommend.